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CubsRgr8

Troop Meeting Concerns

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My 6th grade son is second class scout in a large (75+) troop which produces 1-3 Eagle Scouts each year. Prior to last night, both my son and I received email messages that the PLC had decided to spend the first three troop meetings in January prepping for the upcoming Polar Bear campout. That's ALL that happened last night, aside from presenting and retiring the colors. Oh, and by the way, you can't go on the campout unless your at least 12 years old and first class.

 

Over half of the 32 scouts who attended last night are 6th graders and very few are 12 and first class. There was nothing else for them to do so they all had to sit there through 60 minutes of detailed discusssion about winter camping - and they aren't even allowed to go! So, am I off-base in thinking this was a really poorly structured troop meeting? Or am I suffering from Cubmaster-itis?

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I completly agree with the last post, that there should have been an activity to with "First Class Emphasis" for the younger boys, it could have been supervised by an older scout that may not be going on the campout

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Yes but, what does your son think, what is he doing about it? Your emotions see this as a door closing on your son, but my experience sees one opening for opportunity to grow.

 

I say it a lot, but a scout troop is the adult world scaled down to a boys size. The adult world is not perfect and these things happen there as well, what do you do about it. And it's not as if you son is stuck, he has a lot of tools in his scout bag. He has the Patrol Method tool that gives him the ability to speak out and suggest change. Everyone in the Troop has equal voice because the Patrol Method is a form of democracy. He has the Leadership Tool that gives him the conduit to give his opinion. He can talk with his Patrol Leader or Troop guide. He can move up to the ASPL and SPL. He can set up an appointment at the next PLC meeting and make his voice heard to all the leaders. He has power and he can make a difference.

 

Hey, I know it appears this decision of PLC is boys behaving badly, but I have listened to hundreds of PLC meetings and I can't recall a single one where the scouts were so careless that they purposely pushed scouts away from their program. They are young men learning how to be good leaders, but they require experience. Its more likely they were thinking of preventing your son from having a bad experience. I will take compassion any day over intentional separation of young scouts from arrogant older leaders, even if the compassion is misdirected and a wrong solution.

 

Go and ask your son, what are you going to do about this. Guide him, teach him and show him his capabilities, his tools and how to make changes. Dont give him the answers, but ask him questions that led him to think the answers. This scouting at its best.

 

While youre sitting there frustrated and possibly wondering about this troop, I think you deserve praise. Go get a cool drink, find youre most comfortable chair, and think about this. You might have joined a troop where the adults didnt even allow the PLC to suggest new ideas. You might have joined a troop where the adults let the scouts suggest ideas, but are always changed because the adults want to run the show. You might have even joined a troop where they PLC planned a new idea, but it was changed to make scouting easier for the adults. One of the hardest task for a SM is getting the scout to feel comfortable dreaming. To think his wildest ideas and to suggest change. Our children are told over and over that they must do it this way and must learn it that way. Shouldnt there be one safe place in this world where a boy who dreams can actually make that dream come true. Shouldnt there be a safe place where failure only means youre one step closer to success. You could have joined all those other troops where your son might have got his Eagle patch, but probably not the heart of the Eagle. You did good, you choose this troop, one where scouts can dream and suggest an idea. A troop where the boys are allowed to screw up, os they can learn and try again. You even found a troop where it is so much fun that they average three Eagles a year. So pat yourself on the back and take the night off. I think you found a Troop where your son will grow to be a Citizen of Character and leader of Integrity. You found a good boy run Troop.

 

I love this Scouting Stuff.

 

Barry

 

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My first point is that somehow (and I agree with Eagledad that this is an oppurtunity for your son to learn how both the patrol method and the leadership chain of comand work), the Troop should reconsider the limit on winter camping to boys who are 12 and 1st Class. With the proper training (and it sounds like that was happening), the proper equipment (and that doesn't mean a $200.00 sleeping bag!), and a sense of adventure, ANY Scout can camp during the winter. I am all for some events being restricted to boys over a certain age and / or rank. But winter camping shouldn't be one of them.

 

Secondly, even if a large portion of the Troop are not allowed to go, there is still value in them listening and learning. Many will be able to go next year, and listening to the spiel twice is more likely to help him prepare than just once.

 

Third, ignoring my first two points, you and everyone else here is right - A differnet activity should have been planned. It should be like this at all Troop meetings: Activities planned for each level of scouts, who get some combination of instruction and practice, perhaps in a game or contest. If the older guys are going repelling, and the younger guys can't (or didn't want to, for that matter), part of the meeting plan should have been to plan an activity for such a group.

 

If you look at another thread that I started, Eagledad, OGE, and others all gave me some very good advice about a very similiar problem: The boys are running things, but it isn't quite the way we as adults think it should be. Most everyone gave the same advise, and it applies here. Scouting is a great place, maybe the only place, boys can be given the responsiblity to lead, allowed to make a mistake, and have a safety net under them to prevent disasters. did your PLC make a mistake? It sounds like it to me from what you describe. Is it a disaster? Not really. Worst case scenerio? Your son and 31 other guys wasted a night. More likely though, somewhere in a presentation that they may have thought didn't apply to them, they heard someone say something that will make them more comfortable at next year's campout. Along with that, is the added benefit of having a perfect reason to practice the patrol method, and use the leadership (youth) established to fix an error.

Good luck to you!

 

Mark

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mark

I agree with everything you said except for one point.

Worst case scenerio. His son and 31 boys leave scouting becuase it is BORING!

CubsRgr8

This will happen again unless your sons patrol leaders and others speak up at the PLC! Please keep us informed!

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BSA doesn't limit winter camping to certain ages/ranks...if you're a registered Boy Scout, you're eligible to go. If your troop imposes further restrictions, that's a self-inflicted wound.

 

Winter Camping is our troop's monthly theme, with Klondike around the corner. The BSA Troop Resources for Winter Camping as a theme, of course, offer mostly-complete Troop Meeting Plans. They include skill instruction for new, experienced, and Venture-age Scouts, all of which tie into a successful winter campout. We're using them, and taking all our Scouts who want to go, from Tenderfoot to Eagle.

 

I've never understood why a leader would take a perfectly suitable plan based on almost a century of experience, laid out in front of you like a buffet, and toss it in the trash and do something inferior.

 

KS

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I would have to question why the age restriction for this campout. Does this happend on every campout? If so, why?

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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Dan,

 

My point was based on the assumption that this is the exception, not the rule. If the meeting plan is developed like this regularly, than you are 100% right.

 

We have begun talking to our Junior Leadership about how much easier the job would be if they took advantage of the work others have done developing a program that works. We've got pretty inteligent boys running our Troop, but it's probably not wise that they assume they can develop a program better than what has been developed over the last 95 years. It's a tough lesson to learn, but it seems we go through this with every new set of leaders. The first month or so after being elected is like a honeymoon. The next three to four months are a real struggle. The boys seem to work very hard and aren't very sucessful, and the Scoutmaster starts hounding them to do their jobs right. After about 6 months, they seem to get it. Use the tools altready available, plan ahead instead of putting out fires, communicate a little. They recognize how much easier it is to do it "right" than to do it on their own. The only thing that confuses me is why EVERY new SPL, and EVERY new PL go through this. It seems that eventually, someone would benefit from the struggles of the ones that came before him.

 

Mark

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Thank you all for your feedback. When I asked my son what he thought, he said "boring", but I failed to ask the follow-up question "what are you going to do about it?" I will discuss this further with him, and attempt to lead him to the conclusion that he should contact the PL, then the ASPL, then the SPL to voice his opinion.

 

The class and age restrictions only apply to this campout and, given its physical demands of the scouts, I don't disagree with them. I object to the lack of an alternative activity during the troop meeting. I also object to the the troop meeting devoting its entire time to just one topic. Where's the patrol meeting, the game, etc?

 

I'll see where this goes and report back after next Tuesday's meeting. Thanks again!

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Hi, we are a new troop of only 14 boys. 2 "almost Life" scouts (age 13)and the rest are Tenderfoot thru Second Class. (age 11-12) This weekend is our Klondike winter campout. We only have 8 of the 14 going. With tonight being the meeting before Klondike, this is how we handled it: The boys going to Klondike met one Saturday afternoon ( right after a troop Christmas tree recycling project and pizza after) and held a special meeting. Most of it was going over their check lists, departure time, any questions that they might have, etc. Tonight at the meeting we will keep to the boy's meeting plans. BUT- they will be bringing their backpack's in for inspection. Since there are only 8 going, they will be called over one at a time so it does not take the focus off the meeting. It should go fairly fast. Meeting stays as planned, the boys want to work on lashings and building camp gadgets, and playing "worse case scenario" game for their interpatrol activity. Most of the boys were in a troop before that talked about the campout coming up only which made for a boring meetings for the ones not going. Many of them dropped out. Our new troop is trying their best not to do this. So far- so good. Wish em' luck this weekend!

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Good answers all, although I would hesitate for a scout to contact his SPL and or ASPL unless absolutely necessary. He should follow the chain of comand so to speak and approach his Patrol Leader almost exclusively.

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CubsRgr

Our Troop just this past weekend attended our Districts Winter Klondike. Our Troop consists of 6 6th graders all of whom are second class. The boys came in 3rd place overall out of 12 patrols from 7 troops. Sounds like your boys were short changed by the PLC.

 

Paul

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I think EagleDad makes a good point, that this appears to be a good boy lead troop. I also agree that if you are going to have restrictions the exclude certain boys you need to have a seperate program for them. If this is isolated then I wouldn't think it is a big deal, but if the boys feel left out to often. like Dan said boys may lose interest.

 

I don't think winter camping is too hard for younger scouts, I take my 6 year old son, he has been twice and loves it.

 

Just my two cents!

 

John

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While the Troop is boy led, I wonder on how well. Excluding Scouts from outings is not a good thing. All Scouts should be included wherever possible. The PLC needs to re-look at this policy they established. If they want to exclude younger Scouts then they need to come up with an alternative program for them. I, however, do not see the reason why the younger Scouts were excluded from the outing in question.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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